Content marketing has been the topic of choice across the marketing and digital media world for some time now. Last year, LinkedIn reported that 93% of surveyed marketers currently use content marketing to some degree, and 58% plan to increase their content marketing budgets in 2014.Due to the success and positive impact of using social media at opportune moments (think Oreo’s timely tweet during last year’s Super Bowl “blackout”), strategies around “moment marketing” and especially the phrase “agile”, have recently achieved buzzword status. Being “agile” now stands proudly, using its own balletic feet, among the ranks of ad viewability, responsive design, and big data.
As it pertains to recruitment and talent acquisition, agile means using real-time interactions and behavior monitoring to drive a more limber approach to creating and deploying branded content focused around the company and its employees, which provide value to those interested in joining the team. Any effective approach to careers content generation has to put candidate interest at the center and must be able to adapt based on current staffing needs, the job market and talent audience insights. In the consumer world, marketers and strategists have devised elegant thinking around content creation, often comparing brands to publishers and media companies.
It’s certainly safe to say that there’s now a lot of commentary out there around agile approaches to content creation–much of it informative and interesting. But how this relates to actually building the bridge, which demonstrates credibility, trust and the promise between employer and employee, leaves much to be desired. Where the gap exists is at the crucial point where hiring managers and recruiters stop and say, “This all sounds great, but where do we go from here?” Thinking can only make a difference when it is actionable. And while it’s one thing to think agile, the action of being quick-to-market with compelling company content based on real-time cultural trends, as well as the organization’s current and future skills gaps, are a much tougher challenge.
In working with leading organizations and their brands to navigate through and succeed in agile content development, we find there are three key things employers should consider to set themselves up for great results and better engage desired talent.
When brands come to agencies for agile content development, the main criteria is usually that the content must be high quality, low-cost, high frequency, and quick-turnaround. But often their internal structure and processes aren’t yet optimized to embrace this type of approach. In agile content marketing, timing and efficiency are everything.
Brands can optimize themselves for agile content development by making internal adjustments that improve communication, the first of which should be to empower a small team to manage the process – whether it’s the marketing department or HR. This team should have the authority to secure and approve budgets, as well as weigh in creatively and strategically on careers related content as it goes to market. Creating a nimble group that has real ownership of the process will make things more efficient and reduce the chances of unnecessary stress being put on your talent acquisition team as a whole.
This exercise will help your brand get into the right mind-set. Think of your marketing/HR group as the show producer, and your agile content group as the stage director.
Select The Best Content Partner
Choosing a smart content strategy and partner who can produce great careers content is the foundation of agile content marketing. Agile content development is best executed by a partner that has creative, strategy, production, and analytics under one roof. This eliminates the communication slowdowns of older traditional models (between employer brand, agency, production company and media), and makes the process more effective, cost-efficient, and more cohesive for the candidate.
As digital evolves, it’s imperative to seek out a partner who embraces technology and software to automate as much content generation and distribution as possible. Ensuring careers content is SEO and mobile, as well as developing a means to connect the dots amongst created and curated content with open requisitions that best match the story being told, provides a better user experience for the prospective candidate and streamlines the entire process.
When strategy, creative, and production teams can sit side by side and collaborate fluidly, agile content is the by-product. A perfect example of this is Red Bull, which revved up and energized its consumer marketing initiatives by combining brand, agency, and production company into one.
Develop A Living, Breathing Content Strategy
Since a brand’s content strategy is often established at the very beginning of the process, the ongoing challenge is to make sure that strategy stays true to the objectives that it was built around, while also being fluid enough to evolve as job markets and hiring needs change.
The most important part of setting your brand’s agile content strategy is having a clear idea of why your brand is creating content to begin with and what you’re aiming to achieve. For example, Whole Foods calls itself “America’s healthiest grocery store” and has created an entire content platform to back up that claim. Whole Foods has established itself as more than a place to get food; it is officially an important part of customers’ lifestyles and a part of their image. It has done this, in part, by introducing an entire educational platform where it offers custom content on topics such as sustainability, animal welfare, and GMOs in food. What is especially notable is its aggressive use of all social media platforms as an engagement and distribution tool for its content and its deep understanding of the visual web that permeates its digital assets via beautiful photography, graphics, and design. While Whole Foods and Redbull, both of which offer food and beverage products, vary greatly on what they deem their audiences find interesting and crave (nutrition vs adrenaline), each brand understands its audience, the type of content which resonates best and further establishes each brand as leaders in their niche.
Once your brand’s content strategy is set, it should be seen as a living framework and playbook that should evolve over time. Recognize that your brand and content both live in a dynamic world that changes constantly. Though the company’s main areas of hire may not change, the skills needed and actual content you create, and where it’s published, probably will. With digital, you have the ability to monitor and understand your candidates, and deliver to them exactly what they want when they want it. The main takeaway and key to success for all talent attraction stakeholders in agile content development is that you have to be comfortable knowing that you can’t know everything that lies ahead. Agile content development are for those who persevere and adapt. Brands that plan ahead and train accordingly, will continue to rendezvous and dance with desired candidates, while theorists and educators will continue to “get it,” but while watching from the side of the stage.
Photo by Bess Knight